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Shifty First Dates - The Her.Ie Guide To Dating In Ireland: Fox Hunting

In a new weekly feature, goes behind enemy lines to see what it's really like to be single in Ireland.

From speed dating to making speedy escapes, our no-holds-barred blog will follow one girl's attempts to venture into the dating jungle, play the field and share any wisdom that she finds along the way!

Week Six: Fox Hunting

While I’ve quite enjoyed my adventures on Tinder, I’m an old fashioned girl at heart and there’s nothing like sussing out a guy face-to-face to decide whether he is more of a Michael Fassbender or a Marty Morrissey.

However, as we discovered last week, a drink-fuelled night out doesn’t really provide an ideal hunting ground for finding the love of your life (or your weekend!) so I took to checking out some slightly different approaches to meeting new people.

On a recent night out, a friend told me that she had gone to a Supper Safari Club and really enjoyed the experience. For one glorious minute, I thought that it was basically a trip to Dublin Zoo with some eligible men (can someone please make this happen?) but was informed that it’s actually an excursion where you meet a bunch of strangers and head to three different restaurants for your starter, main and dessert.

The next event was booked up when I checked it out online and I absentmindedly put it on my quite lengthy to-do list but a few weeks later, I received an email to say that there had been a cancellation last-minute and ask whether I’d be interested in heading down after work. Given that I was wearing a hoodie and jeans (and I’m pretty sure that’s not what guys mean when they say they like the ‘natural look’), I was going to turn it down but threw caution to the wind and my ass in a taxi to suss out this unusual adventure on your behalf.

After a five-minute pitstop to change (and wish that I had one of those magic wardrobes from Sabrina The Teenage Witch), I turned up to The Church Bar to meet with organiser Avril Mulcahy and the rest of the intrepid explorers. Avril explained that she leaves the ladies at one side of the bar and men on the other while sorting out the details to maintain a bit of mystery so I grabbed a seat with the girls and a glass of wine to soothe my very frayed nerves.

Merlot in hand, I started to consider what I had let myself in for. What if they were all old and made Les Battersby look attractive? What if got stuck with some weirdo for the whole night? What if everyone else hit it off and I was left standing like I had been in every team sport selection ever?!

Luckily, Avril picked a great time to come down, divide us into three teams and give us a little pep-talk about the night ahead – basically ordering us to have the craic and not take things so seriously. Her positive attitude was infectious and instantly put everyone at ease so I paired up with my group and headed to our first destination.

Long story short, I had a GREAT night. The food was fantastic and we met a new group of guys on arrival at each restaurant so you were never stuck in conversation with a non-runner for too long. There was great comraderie between the girls and by the second course, it felt like a night out with friends as everyone swapped stories and gossip. At the end of the night, we all met at our original destination for a few drinks and an opportunity to chat with any lookers that you didn’t happen to speak to earlier in the night (and trust me, there were a few!).

Of course, there were also a couple of strange moments. Most notably, a guy who sat opposite me for a whole course and stared at me without opening his mouth and another whose offensive statements made John McCririck look politically correct.

Did I find Prince Charming on my Safari? Well, no. While most of the guys were great fun, there were no major sparks burning for me on this occasion. I must also admit that I was temporarily distracted by a couple of absolute foxes in the lobby of one of our destinations, which may have split my focus. However, I did notice that a few new couples had definitely paired off by the end of the night so it was certainly a success for some! Overall, I would definitely recommend checking it out as I made some new friends and had an absolute laugh at the same time.

Of course, I haven’t abandoned my technology completely (Tinder is now a full-blown addiction) and had also been chatting to an interesting guy all week. By Friday, we had swapped numbers, texted constantly and with the weekend on the horizon, I waited in anticipation to be swept off my feet.

While he had mentioned a few times that he was having bigger cashflow problems that Sean Quinn, I’m a fairly low maintenance kind of girl and would have happily opted for meeting for a coffee to take our budding relationship off-line.

However, I was in for a rude awakening when the long-awaited ‘will you go out with me’ finally arrived.

“Bring me over some beers and I’ll let you play with my PS3.”

And they say romance is dead?!

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